Ligand expands oncology drug discovery with Servier

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

June 15, 2020 -- Ligand Pharmaceuticals subsidiary Vernalis Research has expanded its oncology drug discovery collaboration with French pharmaceutical company Servier.

The three-year research collaboration utilizes Vernalis' strengths in structure and biophysics-based methods and Servier's oncology expertise to research new cancer therapeutic targets based on previously undisclosed proteins. A prior collaboration led to the discovery of several compounds that are currently in clinical trials, including Bcl-2 and Mcl-1.

Vernalis will leverage its Vernalis design platform, which integrates protein structure determination, protein engineering, fragment screening, and molecular modeling with medicinal chemistry to successfully develop novel drug candidates against highly challenging oncology targets.

Vernalis will receive research and success fees, as well as milestone payments and royalties on sales if Servier advances any identified targets. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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